Oracle does want Kona in InterOffice after all

After earlier denials Oracle has admitted that it is discussing licensing of Lotus's Kona Java applets. But although a top Oracle official describes the plan as a 'cross-licensing deal' into which Oracle will put its Hat Trick technologies, Lotus has denied any interest in in Hat Trick.

Oracle Corp. is discussing a cross-licensing deal with Lotus Development Corp. concerning Lotus' Kona and Oracle's Hat Trick technologies in hopes that the two will create a complete suite of Java applets available in both companies' groupware platforms, a top official at Oracle told IDG News Service here today.

But a Lotus official in the U.S. denied that Lotus has an interest in licensing Hat Trick.

Both Kona and Hat Trick, being developed by Lotus and Oracle respectively, are code names for suites of desktop-productivity applets based on Java.

As for Kona, Oracle would like to incorporate the spreadsheet applet into its InterOffice groupware, according to Sohaib Abbasi, senior vice president, tools division at Oracle.

"We have not really finalised how the products will get integrated, but the benefit I see of the integration would be [that] Kona and Hat Trick complement one another to provide a complete Java suite," says Abbasi who oversees Oracle's InterOffice groupware product. "If we successfully conclude our discussions, then we would see [the Kona spreadsheet] as being an obvious compliment to the features we have with Hat Trick and ... a spreadsheet that would be integrated in with InterOffice."

Abbasi says Oracle would like Lotus to incorporate Web Library and components of Hat Trick into its Kona suite. But he says Lotus has not agreed to do this. Web Library is a part of InterOffice that enables users to manage, store and index documents that they have created.

"We've made progress in terms of [identifying] component complements that we have, but they haven't really reciprocated in terms of integrating and incorporating Hat Trick as part of their suite," he says.

However, Michael Welles, general manager of Kona business development at Lotus, denies that Lotus' incorporation of Hat Trick was even on the table. "That discussion hasn't taken place to my knowledge.".

Welles says talks between Oracle and Lotus have focused on "Kona and something Oracle is going to be announcing next week."

Abbasi's details on the plan follows comments made last week in Tokyo by Lotus President Jeff Papows concerning Oracle's plans to bundle Kona applets into an unspecified future version of InterOffice. Last week, Oracle officials denied that an agreement had been reached and declined further comment.)

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